Empowering 21st Century Learners in STEM An Impetus for Change

By James S. May Ed.D.

Students today prefer on-demand learning with visual stimulation in flexible but structured learning environments that have collaborative, experiential and authentic activities, and applied technologies. However, when we look at K-12 classrooms, we tend to find that most are still mired in a 19th century, industrial model of learning; they still tend to be teacher fronted, teacher driven, and focused, for the most part, on passive information exchange. Recent research suggests that we should move away from these more traditional practices. A recent meta-analysis of 225 studies of success in STEM courses comparing traditional lecture to active learning found that students in the traditional classes were 1.5 times more likely to fail; students taught with active learning outperformed those taught by lectures by 6 percentage points on exams (Freeman et. al).

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